On Wednesday morning, the NFL launched a public service announcement PSA focusing on the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean, who was shot dead in his own apartment on Sept. 6, 2018 by Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer.
The PSA was released less than 72 hours after Colin Kaepernick’s former team, the San Francisco 49ers, secured their place in Super Bowl LIV to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2. Four years ago, Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality.
The Jean PSA is the third to come out of The Responsibility Program, a platform created by the NFL and Roc Nation in 2019, with the intention of creating awareness about social injustices devastating communities across the nation and the importance of working together to facilitate change.
The two-minute video is narrated by Botham Jean’s family. Allison Jean, his mother, and Bertrum Jean, his father, gave emotional testimonies about their son’s character and the impact his death has had on their family. His sister, Allisa Findley, shared her ongoing efforts to keep her brother’s memory alive with the Botham Jean Foundation, an organization she started.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2020
“What I hope to see happen is that our black boys are not seen as a threat,” Jean’s mom said during the PSA. “There are things that must be done and must be done quickly. We must change this all around.”
Guyger is now serving a 10-year sentence for killing Jean and is the first Dallas cop convicted of murder since Darrell L. Cain killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez in 1973.
This is one of three PSAs in addition to the two PSAs released in 2019 by the Players Coalition and Meek Mill’s label, Dream Chasers Records (a joint venture with Roc Nation). This PSA is the first one of which released by the NFL.
The Responsibility Program joined the Players Coalition, a non-profit focused on criminal justice reform, co-founded by former NFL pro-bowler Anquan Boldin and current NFL Pro Bowler Malcolm Jenkins, to release their first PSA on Nov. 6, 2019. With over a million Twitter views the video featured Danroy “DJ” Henry, a 20-year-old student athlete at Pace University who was killed in 2010 by Aaron Hess, a police officer in Mount Pleasant, New York. Hess was not indicted. The family was paid a $6 million settlement to end their wrongful death suit.
About a month after the Players Coalition released the Henry PSA, Mill’s label released a second PSA about another incident of police brutality. This time it was Antwon Rose II, a 17-year-old high school student, who was shot in the back as he fled from police while unarmed. Michael Rosfeld, the East Pittsburgh police officer who killed Rose on June 19, 2018, was charged with criminal homicide, but found not guilty. Similar to Henry’s case, the Rose family settled their wrongful death suit out of court for $2 million.
Most recently at Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship games, the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative released a 60 second ad about Anquan Boldin’s cousin, Corey Jones, who was murdered by Nouman K. Raja, a Florida police officer in plainclothes, on Oct. 18, 2015. In a statement for Ad Age, Tim Ellis, the chief marketing officer of the NFL, said that Roc Nation did not produce the Corey Jones spot, but were consulted “on the content and overall approach.”
In 2018, as part of its ongoing commitment to social justice, the NFL launched the Inspire Change initiative and has been working with the Players Coalition. The NFL has already provided more than $25 million in grants to organizations focused on social justice issues in the following priority areas: education and economic advancement, police and community relations, criminal justice reform. This includes over 500 grants awarded to current and former NFL players for social justice programs and initiatives across the country.
Since August of 2019, the NFL has worked with Roc Nation to help amplify Inspire Change and continue to highlight the efforts of NFL players to create positive change in communities across the country. The new PSA is an element of the league’s partnership with Roc Nation.